Let me start by asking a question: who wants to grow their business? I suspect the majority of brokers reading this will answer with a resounding “yes!” The same certainly goes for our brokers at PLAN Australia.
Growth is central to our business proposition, and we live and breathe our motto ‘excellence through evolution’. We believe that having aspirations to grow and expand is an important quality not only for business owners, but that ambition and a desire to grow is an important driving factor in everyday life.
It reminds me of a story told to me by a teacher about her Year 3 children discussing their career aspiration … when one little girl was asked what she wanted to do when she grew up, the teacher was impressed to hear her say she wanted to be a criminal defence lawyer. She was, however, surprised when her best friend announced she wanted to be a bank robber because she knew her friend would be able to get her off all the charges.
So, while it’s good to be bold with your aspirations ... maybe not that bold! A number of businesses we talk to feel uncertain about their ability to grow, and in our experience, this is often a result of thinking narrowly about their opportunities to grow. This is the theme I will explore in this blog series – ‘The Art of Growth’.
I will explain some growth strategies for you to consider inspired by a piece of research by global business consultancy McKinsey & Co called ‘Staircases to Growth’. This research looks at how the best companies expand, and shows how you can apply the same theory to your business. You’ll be glad to hear that I won’t be advocating big, bold, complex leaps – rather, a series of measured steps that can become a staircase to achieve growth.
I’ll be outlining seven distinct growth strategies for you to consider, some of which will be more appealing than others depending on your starting point. These growth strategies can be implemented in different ways. They can be pursued stand alone, in tandem or sequentially. It will depend on what is right for your business. I will come back to this down the track.
So let’s get to it and unearth the seven growth strategies…
1. New competitive arenas
There is a wealth of opportunities for finance brokers to grow their business by providing a more holistic range of services to clients. Save your clients their precious time by being their go-to for all their loan needs.
2. Geographic expansion
Moving into new locations can allow you to easily grow by replicating your strategy in different markets. On the large end of the scale, this can involve opening new offices in different locations, but on the small end of the scale you can simply increase the distance you will travel to reach new clients.
3. Acquisition and consolidation
This is a commonly pursued growth strategy and there are valid arguments both for and against acquisition or consolidation. If you do want to go ahead with a consolidation plan, the key is to have a well thought out strategy in place.
4. Value delivery innovation
Self-reflection can be the hardest thing for a business. Take advantage of data analytics services to give your business a health check and show you where there is room to innovate your value delivery chain.
5. Product/service innovation
Making sure your offering is market-leading will always mean you stand out from the pack. Harness the power of technology and take advantage of professional development opportunities to ensure the service you provide is innovative, and the best your customer can get.
6. Attracting new customers
At the heart of the broking business is the need to satisfy your customers. What would a growth strategy be without a step that addressed attracting new business? It’s important not to overlook the basics, and ensure you have a clear referral strategy and database management system in place.
7. Maximising existing customers
The last step to growth I will consider is how to maximise your current customers. Customer loyalty is so important, and retaining this is something all brokers should strive to achieve.
Putting all of these strategies together you can see how they can turn into a staircase to growth ... a stairway to heaven perhaps!
In upcoming blogs I will explore each of these growth strategies in more detail and outline what a finance broking business can do to successfully implement these strategies.
Phil Quin-Conroy was appointed as chief executive of PLAN Australia in May 2013. Previously, Phil spent three years leading the broker services and operations department, responsible for the delivery of key business initiatives for the Advantedge group. During this time he oversaw and was accountable for the implementation of Podium, NCCP and onboarding projects.
Phil has over 20 years’ experience in the financial services industry, of which the last eight have been spent working closely with mortgage brokers. Previously he led the insurance and licensee services department at MLC. He has a passion for working with entrepreneurial, self-employed business owners and is able to draw on a global perspective, gained from time working in Australia, Asia and the UK.
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